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West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds marks International Women's Day with host of speakers including West End actress




A West End actress was one of a number of speakers who featured in a special International Women's Day event at West Suffolk College this week.

Kerry-Ellis Townsend, who grew up in Suffolk and has performed in Wicked and We Will Rock You in London and New York, was joined by Dame Martina Milburn, group chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, Nicola Beach from Suffolk County Council and Amber Coates from the Image Beauty Salon.

The event saw multimedia journalism students from the Bury St Edmunds college Bethany Caulder and Lucy Elsden put questions to the panel on their life, careers and the importance of championing women’s rights across the globe.

Kerry-Ellis Townsend. Picture: Kerry-Ellis Townsend.
Kerry-Ellis Townsend. Picture: Kerry-Ellis Townsend.

Kerry-Ellis, said: “I grew up in Suffolk and wanted to celebrate and shout about how important we all are.

"My overall message is be brave, dream big and you can make it happen."

The panel recognised although many improvements have been made in recent times - work is still to be done to ensure more equality is afforded to females both inside and outside of the work place.

Dame Martina Milburn. Picture: The Prince’s Trust.
Dame Martina Milburn. Picture: The Prince’s Trust.

Dame Martina Milburn, who is also a former journalist, said: “It was great to chat to everyone and hopefully inspire them.

"I think we learn something new every day and my advice to everyone is that you need to be confident and trust your instincts."

Nicola Beach implored the students to remain true to themselves, lead by example, not to tolerate bad behaviour, but 'most importantly' not to underestimate their talents and skills.

Mike Opukah, a business lecturer at the college, organised the event.

Nicola Beach from Suffolk County Council. Picture: Suffolk County Council.
Nicola Beach from Suffolk County Council. Picture: Suffolk County Council.

He said: "All our guests were from a range of industries and it was brilliant that they gave up their time to share their experiences and inspire our staff and students.

"We would like to thank them all for giving up their time to support us."

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